Dallas City Council resolution condemns bullying, notes that LGBT students are often the victims

Posted on 09 Nov 2010 at 6:26pm

As Unfair Park first reported last week, the Dallas City Council on Wednesday will consider a resolution to condemn all bullying, harassment and intimidation at schools in the city. The two-page resolution, submitted by seven council members, notes that “children and youth with disabilities and children and youth who are lesbian, gay, or trans-gender, or who are perceived to be so, [are] at particularly high risk of being bullied by their peers … ”

The resolution was submitted by Angela Hunt, Pauline Medrano, Delia Jasso, Dwaine Caraway, Carolyn Davis, Steve Salazar and Tennell Atkins. If you’ll remember, Michael Piazza, executive director of Hope for Peace and Justice, addressed the City Council and requested just such a resolution three weeks ago (you can watch video of Piazza’s remarks here). Since then, the Dallas Independent School District’s board of trustees has opted to move forward with a new bullying policy that would specifically protect LGBT students. So at this point the City Council resolution is like icing on the cake. And just in case you really like icing, we’ve posted the full text below.

November 10, 2010

WHEREAS, school bullying, harassment, and intimidation greatly reduce students’ abilities to both achieve and surpass academic standards in public and private schools in the City of Dallas; and

WHEREAS, school bullying, harassment, and intimidation can directly affect a student’s health and well-being and thus contribute to excess absences from school, physical sickness, mental and emotional anguish, and long-term social and mental consequences; and

WHEREAS, school bullying, harassment, and intimidation can take many physical, verbal, and written forms, including physical bullying; teasing or name-calling; social exclusion; peer sexual harassment; bullying about race, ethnicity, religion, disability, sexual orientation, and gender identity; and cyber bullying (bullying through email, text messaging, or other digital means); and

WHEREAS, it is long past time for not only society, but also for each community in the City, down to the individual school, to acknowledge that bullying is not some sort of rite of passage to be simply ignored or tolerated; and

WHEREAS, incidents of reported school-related bullying in the City and throughout the nation are ample evidence of the need for intervention, with children and youth with disabilities and children and youth who are lesbian, gay, or trans-gender, or who are perceived to be so, being at particularly high risk of being bullied by their peers; and

WHEREAS, many bullies eventually end up with criminal records and are involved in abusive relationships because they have not learned appropriate social behavior; and

WHEREAS, public and private schools seek to provide a healthy, positive, and safe learning atmosphere for all children; and

WHEREAS, numerous bullying prevention programs, curricula, and strategies have been developed in recent years for use in schools and research indicates that bullying at school may be significantly reduced through comprehensive, school-wide programs that are designed to change norms for behavior; and

WHEREAS, many schools across the region are already engaged in prevention efforts; and

WHEREAS, these programs emphasize assessment of the prevalence of bullying incidents and preventive, early intervention strategies; and

WHEREAS, with the help of local school boards, private schools, school personnel, parents, and concerned individuals, school bullying can be effectively addressed; and

WHEREAS, the City Council affirms the City’s commitment to equality and freedom from discrimination and violence for all of its residents; Now, Therefore,

BE IT RESOLVED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF DALLAS:

Section 1. That bullying, harassment, and intimidation in schools in the City is condemned.

Section 2. That schools that serve the children of the City and concerned parents are urged to work together to further define and understand the multiple aspects of bullying and effectively use systems for reporting school-related bullying incidents.

Section 3. That schools that serve these children and concerned parents are called upon to respond to school-related bullying incidents by implementing programs where victims of bullying can be identified and assisted, and perpetrators educated, in order to create safer schools that provide a positive learning environment.

Section 4. That schools, concerned parents, and all other concerned groups are encouraged to come together to form a coalition whose goal would be to bring about, through education and other means, the end of bullying, harassment, and intimidation in schools in the City.

Section 5. That this resolution shall take effect immediately from and after its passage in accordance with the Charter of the City of Dallas, and it is accordingly so resolved.

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